Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Cryptopsy - Cryptopsy

Sooner or later, everyone has a down-point in their career. For Montreal based technical death metal group Cryptopsy, this down-point came in 2008 with the release of Unspoken King which isolated many of their long-term fan base by taking on a mainstream deathcore style complete with breakdowns and melodic clean vocals. In addition, the song composures were dumbed down to withered husks of the potential and skill possessed by the band. Now, four years later Cryptopsy have finally released a self-titled follow up which begs the question, can Cryptopsy be redeemed?

Genre: Brutal/Technical Death Metal, Deathcore
Label: Self-released/independent
Release Date: September 11th, 2012
  1. Two-Pound Torch
  2. Shag Harbour's Visitors
  3. Red-Skinned Scapegoat
  4. Damned Draft Dodgers
  5. Amputated Enigma
  6. The Golden Square Mile
  7. Ominous
  8. Cleansing the Hosts
Total Playtime: 34 minutes, 53 seconds






Rating: 9.0/10







Sooner or later, everyone has a down-point in their career. For Montreal based technical death metal group Cryptopsy, this down-point came in 2008 with the release of Unspoken King which isolated many of their long-term fan base by taking on a mainstream deathcore style; complete with breakdowns and melodic clean vocals. In addition, the song composures were dumbed down to withered husks of the potential and skill possessed by the band. Now, four years later, Cryptopsy have finally released a self-titled follow up which begs the question, can Cryptopsy be redeemed?

This seventh full-length record marks a few firsts in the history of Cryptopsy; this is the first record without a label after having released their previous four on Century Media and the two others on a couple differing companies, the introduction of new bassist Olivier Pinar, and the return of original guitarist Jon Levasseur who departed the band in 2005. The rest of the line up has stayed the same, including guitarist Christian Donaldson and vocalist Matt McGachy who both first appeared on Unspoken Kings. It should also go ahead and be noted that the production values are actually really well done and a noticeable step up from Cryptopsy's previous efforts, leaving this album with a slick coating of clear audio quality and uncompressed dynamics. This can be attributed to guitarist Christian Donaldson who produced, engineered and mixed the album.

Right from the start of Cryptopsy, which is led in with a brief, horror inspired introduction on "Two-Pound Torch", the material is filled with the technical grooves and ear candy techniques that the band are so well known for; pinch harmonics, sweeps, tapping, double bass drumming, fluctuating temops, fast shredding and brutality. Intricate song structures weave repeating technicality with steady backing beats, both being equally pleasing to the ear. Injected throughout these structures are little bits of 'what-the-fuckery' such as jazz pieces, "Red-Skinned Scapegoat" being an example for that and a few brief seconds of elevator music in "Damned Draft Dodgers", and it is a great throwback to the 1998 classic, Whisper Supremacy. There are elements of old and new embedded all throughout the material, most likely coming from the two remaining original members and the two longstanding newer members, and it's enough to recruit new fans and support old fans alike.


Vocalist Matt McGachy has improved his vocal talents tremendously in the four year gap between Unspoken Kings and Cryptopsy, having taken vocal lessons from former guitarist Youri Raymond. McGachy has honed his voice into an unstoppable beastly force that really beefs this album up with dominate growls and gut wrenching gutterals with the rare appearance of some animalistic mid-highs. Christian Donaldson holds a chunky-toned rhythm guitar and makes use of some obscure chords that give the album a more sinister vibe, especially in the slower chugging areas like in "Ominous" and "Red-Skinned Scapegoat". This is a great contrast to the frenzied lead guitar of Jon Levasseur, which often includes a variety of techniques from pinch harmonics to hectic sweeping and tapping to melodic solos. Levasseur works with a  slightly cleaner guitar tone that distinguishes the two guitars from each other well. Newcomer Olivier Pinard handles the complex bass work with ease, the structures just as fluidly interchanging as the rest of the song composures. Twangy work like in "The Golden Square Mile" really makes the bass stand out, and it has a heavy and loud presence throughout the entire content. Flo Mounier's drumming is as chaos driven as always, if not more-so, and he provides a consistent back-beat to the ever changing interior song structures. Using a variety of elements in his drum kit, nothing gets stale or repetitive.

Cryptopsy may not be a monsterous behemoth like None So Vile or Whisper Supremacy, but it comes pretty damn close and fails to disappoint in every aspect of what a listener would want to hear when they purchase a new Cryptopsy album. The band have gone back to everything that has made them a legendary death metal group for the last decade and in doing so have redeemed themselves greatly. Cryptopsy is a high recommendation for technical death metal lovers, old fans of the group, and those craving gratuitous amounts of technicality. Another must hear album of 2012.

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